Children of Incarcerated Parents

CHILDREN OF INCARCERATED PARENTS1Children of Incarcerated ParentsIntroduction
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are traumatic exposures that impede a
child’s neurobiological development, and impact the health and emotional well being of
the child (Anda, Felitti, Brenner, Walker, Whitfield, Perry, Dube, & Giles, 2006). ACEs
are arranged into these three categories: neglect, abuse, and household dysfunction. This
paper will discuss the category of household dysfunction and focus on children of
incarcerated parents. CHILDREN OF INCARCERATED PARENTS2I chose this adverse childhood experience because for two years I worked with
incarcerated children at a home for juvenile delinquents in Wooster Ohio. Twice a week I
ran workshops with the kids, focusing on team building, resumes, cover letters, job
application skills, interviewing, social skills, and critical thinking. During each session
the kids would talk about their home life (or lack thereof), often expressing discouraging
sentiment about incarcerated parents or relatives. The number of single parent homes due
to parental incarceration struck me. A large portion of the children had grown up with a
parent in jail or one who frequently went back and forth. I became invested in helping
these kids and tried to instill confidence in them through the group exercises I facilitated.
As the stories of incarcerated parents mounted, I began to wonder what the effects
on the children might be. Might some of the effects have contributed to the child’s
incarceration and if so what would be the most effective form of treatmentThe question that I will be focusing on is: what are effective strategies in helping
children gain confidence if they have incarcerated parents? Answers to this question
could provide my practice with effective forms of treatment for children of incarcerated
parents. It could help instill confidence in the children, allowing them do better in school